Award Year: 2016

William Yates Elementary School

3600 Davidson Road
Independence, MO, 64055-3843

(816) 874-3740

Mrs. Jan Castle, Principal at time of Nomination

Title I School

Blue Springs R-IV School District

School Website

School Twitter


Empowered children today, powerful leaders tomorrow.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 10%
  • White: 67%
  • Hispanic: 13%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Two or more races: 6%
  • ELL: 7%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %
At William Yates Elementary, success is shared, recognized and celebrated.

At William Yates Elementary, success is shared, recognized and celebrated.

William Yates Elementary (WYE) is a Title I school located in Independence, Missouri, within the Blue Springs R-IV School District. WYE is child-focused, family-oriented and community-supported. The school has a strong, dedicated staff with 27 percent of the teachers being at the school for 10 or more years and 90 percent possessing advanced degrees.

Five years ago, WYE embarked on a cultural change by adopting the Leader in Me model. The changed paradigm included self-directed learning and shared leadership roles. Due to WYE's high achievement, it was the 60th school in the world to reach Lighthouse status.

WYE students learn what's necessary for academic success, including responsibility, goal setting and attainment, critical thinking, and teamwork. Instead of seeing children through the lens of a normal distribution curve, a new mindset was established, highlighting every student as a capable leader and learner. As shared by Roland S. Barth, "The nature of the relationships among the adults who inhabit a school has more to do with its quality and character and the accomplishments of its pupils than any other factor."

A key component of WYE's success is evidence-based practice. Attention is focused on SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time based) goals and using data points to gauge progress and assure achieved targets are replaced by new, more rigorous ones.

Most importantly, there is a strong sense of family and camaraderie at William Yates Elementary, and success is shared, recognized and publicly celebrated.